As we collectively enter our third year of the pandemic, and watch a war unfold from abroad, it sometimes feels like an endless hell on earth, but as spring starts to show its face, we get moments of sunny reprieve and the suggestion of a new beginning. Similarly, the music video for Death Parade’s first single, “Swimming,” from their new album, IT WAS WORTH IT TO LOVE, though it hurt so bad (Halfshell Records), takes listeners on a visual tour of despair with momentary breakthroughs of light.
The first scene is dark. We see Laura Hopkins (lead vocals, guitar, songwriter) shrouded in a gown, laying in the water. The overtones are blue and black. It’s night, and Hopkins loosely evokes the scene in Twin Peaks when Laura Palmer’s body is found wrapped in plastic, by the water, cold, wet, and dead. However, the video quickly brightens, and cuts to Hopkins dancing fluidly, alone in an open, sunny field, helping you to see and feel the weight of her words. The video is dramatic and beautifully shot, with a simple yet profound color palette that matches the overarching shoegaze/doom pop sound. Cuts to the surrounding landscape bathed in a dark red-orange light punctuate the video, but their restriction to only a few moments keeps the aesthetic brilliantly minimalistic. Filmed on Wapato Island, the video was directed by Megan Eleanor Clark and Kylie LaCour, and produced by Kylie Juggert.
The song itself features Hopkins’ steady, mournful, guitar-driven melody, droning synth by Éirinn Lou Riggs (guitar, keys), backed by Danny Metcalfe (bass) and Robert Grubaugh (drums). Hopkins’ hauntingly beautiful voice matches the melody, her brow furrowed as she sings: “Comfort in heart breaking/Replaying lovemaking.” As a single, “Swimming” pulls you in, leading the way for the rest of IT WAS WORTH IT TO LOVE, though it hurt so bad, out March 14th.
“These songs [on the album] are much more personal and portrayed as a photograph of time, living through endings and new beginnings,” Hopkins explains. “Much like the tarot card, Death is about transformation, and Parade is the path we get to choose, or don’t get to choose, to walk on.”